The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power
11 years after Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings : The Return of the King, the audience is invited back into the worlds of Tolkien in what was one of the most anticipated series of the year. Amazon Prime’s The Rings of Power, explores the Second Age of Middle Earth and Rodeo was one of the selected VFX houses tasked with creating this breathtaking journey in season 1.
Working on a show as high profile as The Rings of Power, came with a culture of secrecy that required our team to slowly discover parts of the plot as they worked on new sequences. From code names to secret locations, each scene delivered clues about this brand new storyline. One thing remained constant, however: a commitment to the highest quality.In the background of Galadriel’s quest for Sauron is one crucial element that fans were eager to revisit: Middle Earth. Giant, sprawling establishing shots (now dubbed LOTR shots in the industry) of meadows, fields, and mountains required our team of concept artists and matte painters to develop precise and careful work that could transport the audience beyond the shores of the real locations in New Zealand.
It is there that we are introduced to the Harfoots’ tribe, ancestors of the Hobbits, as they embark in their yearly migration throughout perilous lands. This entire storyline was crafted by Rodeo, from CG snails, to set extensions. Then there is the “Stranger”, this mysterious figure, fallen from the stars. Shot with actor Daniel Weyman on set, these scenes pushed our FX teams to work with perspectives for interactions with the Harfoots, as well as all the environmental elements.
From the flames of his landing site, the blast of winds rocking the trees, the frozen water as he plunges his hand into the fountain, to the fragile fireflies in the night—this discovery of his powers leads him to an earth-shattering fight in episode 8, where fire and magic come crashing together in a flawless VFX-heavy scene that ends with a fully CG shot of the three Mystics.
The Mystics were then transformed into eerie white ghosts by our team.Along her journey, Galadriel will make several strange encounters, including one with a familiar artifact: the Palantir stone. Already shown in Jackson’s saga, Rodeo was given the job of creating a new interpretation of this mystical object, which gives Galadriel a glimpse of the future. The team went through many iterations to create a broken glass effect and connect the two scenes, linking present and future in one swift camera move.Just like the smallest creatures in Tolkien’s original work can change the fate of many, our work on the season started with the mysterious sigil on a broken sword to a titan fight of fire and wind. There are, however, many more stories left to explore in the crafting of the Rings of Power, and many more foes to defeat.
Grae Revell, Martin Moch, Travis Paciocco, Kavina Phaysavanh, Yannick Puig, Jean-Simon Chabot, Rajarshi Banerjee, Mike Dacko, Yan Morin-Dubuisson
Ara Khanikian, Annie Normandin, Louis Pare, Matthew Rouleau, Jeremie Maheu, Marie-Pier Couture-Alain